In 2013, there were 184,000 books published in the UK alone. That equates to 20 new editions every hour of every day, meaning the UK publishes more books per million inhabitants – by far – than any country in the world. 2,875 – to be precise.
Naturally, some of those will be independently published on a small scale and others obscure factual books or textbooks. But many will be novels – works of fiction – either digital or physical, all fighting for airspace and the attention of consumers. It’s an understatement to say that successfully navigating a book launch is slightly tricky.
Yet, having worked on successful book launches with Dorling Kindersley, Harpercollins and Penguin Random House, we’ve noticed that many books go unnoticed on social media. And many more fail to take full advantage of networks to increase sales in the short term and drive business growth over a longer period.
Below we list 5 reasons social should be part of every book launch:
1. Popularity and Discussion
First, let’s establish why social media represents a fundamentally positive promotional channel for publishers of books. Taking the discussion back to absolute basics, people talk about books on social media. Rather a lot.
In fact, research has shown that books are among the 10 most talked about things on Facebook – the biggest social network there is. On Facebook you can claim to have read certain books, create a list of books you want to read and claim to ‘like’ others that somehow don’t fit into either category.
And then there’s the Twitter chat. Twitter chats are incredibly popular, with many hundreds (probably thousands) happening on a weekly basis, covering any topic you can imagine. Including books.
Attracting numerous bloggers and other social media users, Twitter chats – like #bookbloggers – have the potential to reach thousands of targeted individuals interested in what you have to say. You can read our guide to hosting a successful Twitter chat here…
2. Targeted Advertising Options
The act of liking, sharing, or adding a particular book or author to a list on Facebook gives us one other advantage; concrete user data. And this data can be used to target individuals with interests that align with the subject matter of your latest title.
Let’s say, for arguments sake, that you’re about to launch a new cookbook. Presumably, you want to get your message in front of an audience interested in both cooking and books, or cookbooks in general. Well, Facebook takes the data it’s gathered and enables you to target, at a granular level, any interest, gender and age bracket. It’s even possible to target everyone who has professed an interest in a particular author. Advertising to someone you know for sure likes Yotam Ottolenghi about his latest book, or a similar cookbook in a similar vein, will yield better results than traditional mass marketing.
Approaching targeting from a different angle, Facebook – the leader in social advertising technology – also allows you to feed your own ‘custom audience’ into their advertising software. Using your database of email addresses (encrypted for data protection reasons) Facebook will align contact details with existing user profiles. From there, you are able to target your existing audience, or create a ‘lookalike audience’ of users across Facebook with similar interests to that of your ‘custom audience’.
Clearly, this approach presents a compelling option for generating massive targeted awareness around a book launch, and at a lower cost than traditional advertising options, which offer none of the above targeting options.
3. Facebook Campaign Pages
There’s another important distinction to make in favour of digital advertising; calls to action (CTAs). Once you’ve got someone’s attention with an ad, social media advertising (across all platforms) gives you the option of including a CTA within the ad unit. For instance, you can easily direct a user to ‘like’ your Facebook page, or encourage them to click through to a web page and buy.
But if you want to immerse a user in a book launch and encourage organic sharing (expanding the reach of your campaign) then directing them to a specific campaign application on your Facebook page is the best way of achieving this. For instance, you can read the case study of our campaign for HarperCollins here…
Once a user has reached the campaign page, they can easily be educated further about your book (via video or text), encouraged to like, directed to share or tempted to comment. But, more importantly, campaign pages can be used to incentivise users to leave their contact details, which leads us on to…
4. Lead Generation
Assuming it’s executed properly, a book launch brings clear short term benefits – namely, copies sold. But have you stopped to consider the long term benefits a campaign on social media can bring? We’ve shown time and again – across numerous verticals – that social media campaigns possess an incredible aptitude for lead generation. Just look at our campaign for Penguin Random House…
And while the strength of lead generation may not lie in short term benefits and strict campaign objectives, collecting the contact details of potentially thousands of readers will have positive implications further down the line.
Say you collect 2,000 email addresses from readers you know are interested in cookbooks. Well, add them to your marketing database and make sure to email them in the run-up to your next cookbook launch. It’s an incredibly cost-effective way of targeting individuals you know are interested in your book over and over again.
5. User Generated Content (UGC)
Finally, don’t underestimate the promotional value of social media users on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram sharing thoughts on and images of your book during and after launch. Your biggest brand ambassadors are your fans – their content and recommendations have been shown, time and again, to be the most trusted and acted upon. Click here to find out more about our social hub, which can be used to harness the power of UGC.
Clearly, books are popular on social media. That alone is reason enough for your book to have sizeable presence across all networks at launch. However, ongoing developments mean that social media also provides increasing opportunities for publishers the take the success of their book launch that one step further.